Friday, July 8, 2022

Quick Sips 07/08/2022

Greetings all! Time has a way of getting away from me, but I’m doing my best I swear. This week has been a mixture of all things—stress, despair, excitement, pain, ambition. It’s just…difficult to exist in a time where everything seems on the verge of collapse. Which isn’t really new, historically speaking. So I’ve been devoting more time to my non-profit work for the local queer center and pushing more so that we can hopefully move to help people locally in building connections and networks to survive and to fight back against oppression and injustice. Which…I mean, it’s work but it’s also I feel important work. We’ll see how it goes.

Outside of that, I’m reading up a storm, trying not to fall behind as July tries to bury me in fiction. Seriously, there are so many quarterly issues out that it’s an interesting (and mostly welcome) challenge to keep up with it all. Trying trying trying. I’ve been doing my best to keep myself out of various dramas on the internet, though I have seen a few things go around that are interesting and that I have opinions about. One was the loss of SFF venues, of which there have been quite a few of late. There has been some push back to the idea that SFF is losing publications, though, what with so many new ones launching as well. Which is mostly true. Though I feel that there’s something of a difference in that what we might be seeing is a redistribution not of the amount of SFF venues, but in the form those venues take. I think we have seen a bit of a shrink away from the monthly, regular release of short SFF.

Which I’m pretty sure shows the challenges of doing that kind of publication. Instead we have a rise in quarterly publications (or a rise in prominence in existing quarterly publications) that can give the impression that there’s a loss of content because it’s not as regular, even if it’s about the same amount of content just presented differently. I think we might also be seeing a bit more polarization in newer publications away from broad-genre and toward either more grim storytelling or more hopeful/”fun” storytelling. This might reflect a general move of people toward those areas as different reactions to the same political stresses that have been front and center for so long now.

And it might just be that as places I’ve been following close, it just seems like there’s a loss, as I’m not aware of what might have risen in the meantime. Yes, Shimmer closed a while back and Lackington’s just had their final issue, but Reckoning still has a very literary/language emphasis and tons of poetry to boot, so in some ways it’s also fitting for fans sad to see Fireside go, because it has an explicit climate justice focus. And Reckoning isn’t exactly new, just newer to me. And Amazon and other venues have dipped into the pool as well, putting out runs of short SFF from a range of well-known writers.

So what? I mean, I do think that part of this is just the “feeling” of loss that comes when something familiar and enjoyed goes away. It takes time and often effort to fill the gap left behind, and people these days are often incredibly strained and stretched, and just don’t want to have to work that hard. And…fair. As a reviewer I do try to offer some advice on where to look for new work, but even I have cut back my coverage for mental health reasons and because I now have a column with a narrower focus. But I do think that the field is shifting, and that does mean that there might end up being less (or at least less regular) publications geared toward certain readers.

Anyway, otherwise I’m kind of all over the place. Still reading Excalibur and still nearing the end of the first series. I feel like a lot of it is just spinning wheels, though, with some nice movement at least for Rahne and Douglock, but otherwise not much going. The principles seem stuck in a loop and despite jettisoning Brian, there’s still a rather large cast that doesn’t often get a chance to shine (outwide Wisdom who I still don’t really like). But so it goes.

Watching-wise, we made it through Vera again and moved to the new season of Death in paradise. I’m glad that they didn’t have Florence and Neville get together, but the series in general is suffering from the high turnaround. The only cast members retained from the beginning is the Commissioner and Catherine, and I love that the Commissioner is getting more of a role, but I miss a lot of the other characters, and Neville remains very meh to me. Oh well? With that done, we’ve started with another mystery series…Halloway and Shakespeare? Something like that. We’ve only seen two episodes but it’s fun so far. The main guy has been in everything (often as the murderer) and the rest of the cast if fun (though I wish the gay sidekick was allowed to be a bit more canonically gay instead of just “he’s an actor ha ha”). The comedy angle helps a bit to give it its own feel. And there’s four seasons, so not too short. Looking forward to it.

With games, I just got the last achievements for Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising so I guess I have to get back to some of the other games I was playing (Chrono Trigger, FE:3H, Pokemon Snap!). I did quite like EC:R, even though as an action RPG it’s rather simple and pretty easy. Still, as a first intro to the setting and some of the characters, I liked it a lot. Can’t wait for Hundred Heroes. And that’s about it for now. I totally got stung by some wasps while out working on the yard, and that wasn’t pleasant. But I do hope to get to enjoy the weather a bit more soon. Indeed! Cheers!


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